Austin Wills Attorney
Do You Want to Protect Your Family’s Future?
If you do not have an estate plan in place, it is important to at least have a basic will. Dying intestate – without a will – means your assets and property will be inherited according to your state’s laws, which may not align with your wishes. Probate can also cost more in time and money than if a clear will is in place to guide the process.
At The Schwab Law Firm, we know these are just a few of the key reasons people seek to create a basic will to cover their bases. Probate can be an emotionally complicated time for your family already trying to grieve their loss, why add difficulty to the process of dealing with your estate?
Our wills attorneys in Austin are here to help you build a basic will that can help your family and the legal system know what to do with your estate when you pass on. Learn more about what we offer by taking advantage of a free initial consultation we reserve for all prospective clients.
Your Will Can Cover More Than ‘Things’
You may feel jaded by estate planning because it seems to just be all about who gets what of your belongings after you pass one. However, you should know there’s more to estate planning and asset protection than that. Even a basic will can cover important topics that deal with who will care for your children, disabled relatives, and pets.
If you are a guardian of a minor child or a loved one with special needs, drafting your will is an opportunity to select someone you trust with their raising and care in your absence. While it’s common for people to assign their siblings or other close relatives as the guardians over their children, you aren’t bound by familial ties to determine who is best suited to raise your children. That means even trusted friends whose values align with yours can even be selected as guardians.
The same can be said for your pets whose ownership you can direct to someone you trust to provide the day-to-day attention and care they need to thrive. This is an important consideration for elderly people with younger cats and dogs, but also anyone of any age who owns animals with long lifespans, like parrots and turtles (who often outlast their owners).
What Happens When You Die Without a Will?
Without a valid will in place, your estate will be considered intestate. The assets of your estate will be distributed according to Texas intestacy law during the probate process. This distribution is dependent on the surviving relatives you have, prioritizing those with close relation.
Intestacy law in Texas distributes assets as follows:
- If you are survived by your spouse and biological children, your spouse will inherit all community property and 1/3 of your separate personal property. Your spouse also has the right to use your real estate for the rest of their life. Your biological children will inherit the rest, divided equally.
- If you are survived by a spouse and non-biological children, your spouse inherits 1/3 of your personal property and right to real estate for life. Your children will inherit the rest, including your half of the community property.
- If you are survived by a spouse and have no children or parents, your spouse will inherit the full rest of the probate estate.
- If you are survived by only a spouse and your parent or parents, your spouse will inherit all of your community property and personal property. Your spouse will also inherit the right to half of the real estate for life, with your parents inheriting the rest. The same applies if you are survived by only a spouse and your siblings.
- If you are survived only by descendants, they will inherit the entire estate.
Without other surviving close relatives, inheritance will pass to nieces, nephews, and more distant relatives.
If your wishes for your estate in any way differs from intestacy succession, it is vital to have a valid will in place. A will can allow you to pass assets to specific beneficiaries, including those outside of your family. And working with an estate planning and probate attorney can ensure your will is clear, legally complaint, and inclusive of all relevant assets.
Our wills attorneys in Austin at The Schwab Law Firm can help you create even just a basic will that makes sure your affairs are in order for when you pass on. This can be a valuable option for anyone, but especially people who feel they are too young or don’t own enough to need a comprehensive estate plan.
While the truth is that a well-rounded estate plan can benefit anyone at any time in their life, a simple will is often enough to cover some of the most important things you and your loved ones care about most.